US Open: Cartoon on Serena Williams stirs controversary

A cartoon that was drawn by an Australian cartoonist, Mark Knight, about Serena Williams’ reaction at the US Open on Saturday has become the subject of a trending conversation on Twitter.

Knight’s cartoon was published in Australia’s Herald Sun on Tuesday. It depicted the tennis star having a tantrum on the court at the US Open after she lost to a first-time winner, Naomi Osaka.

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Condemnation of the cartoon has come from American civil rights activist, Reverend Jesse Jackson, British author JK Rowling and other social media users.

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There are, however, others who believe that the cartoon was drawn in good faith and aptly captured the scene at the US Open.

According to Guardian UK, the cartoonist said, “I’m upset that people are offended, but I’m not going to take the cartoon down.”

“I can’t undraw the cartoon. I think people have just misinterpreted. Maybe there’s a different understanding of cartooning in Australia to America. It was a cartoon based on her tantrum on the day and that’s all it was.”

Bernice King, the chief executive of the King Center and daughter of Martin Luther King Jr, said the Herald Sun’s stance was “unfortunate”.

It was “without consideration for the painful historical context of such imagery and how it can support biases and racism today”, she said. “Why wouldn’t a human being care about that?”

Rev Jesse tweeted: “This despicable cartoon tried and failed to diminish the greatness & grace of @serenawilliams. Racism in any form is unacceptable. Push On @serenawilliams! #KeepHopeAlive!”

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